Three Star advance to last four

Pokhara, March 9

Susan Shrestha scored a brace as Ruslan Three Star Club defeated Gangtok Football Club 3-0 and advanced to the semi-finals of the 18th Aaha-Rara Gold Cup Football Tournament here at the Pokhara Stadium today.

After a goalless first half, Shrestha struck twice in the injury time after Sanjok Rai had put Three Star ahead in the 79th minute. Rai opened the scoring for the ‘A’ division outfit in style after the guided the ball alone from the centre of the field and dodged Nimdup Lepcha before firing home.

Shrestha added two goals in the injury time. He doubled the tally in the second minute of the added-on time before making it 3-0 moments later with his second goal of the match. Three Star will now face Nepal Police Club, who had defeated hosts Sahara Club in tie-breaker, for a place in the final.

Earlier, Ananta Tamang headed wide following a corner from Mikchhen Tamang in the eighth minute as Three Star missed a chance to take an early lead, while Nishan Khadka’s 30-yard free kick also failed to find the target in the 19th minute.

Three Star skipper Bikram Lama’s header missed the target by inches on Mikchhen Tamang’s free kick in the 21st minute, while Ananta Tamang judged Mikchhen Tamang’s corner well but ended up with a wide header moments later. At the other end, the Indian team came close to opening the scoring in the 43rd minute but Dan Chhiring Lepcha missed the target by a small margin on a free kick.

In the second half, Sanjok Rai wasted a chance for Three Star with a wayward shot, while Three Star goalkeeper Purna Chemjong denied Ashish’s free kick in the 63rd minute. Chhiring Lendup Bhutia headed wide following a free kick from Dan Chhiring Lepcha in the 64th minute. Sanjok Rai saw his acrobatic kick on Ananta Tamang’s cross was blocked by Gangtok goalkeeper Nimdup Lepcha in the 70th minute.

Sanjok Rai finally broke the deadlock in the 79th minute with a solo effort, while Gangtok came close to scoring the equaliser six minutes later but Three Star goalkeeper Purna Chemjong made a brilliant save to stop a long-range powerful shot from Chhiring Lendup Bhutia.

And Sushan Shrestha finished things off with two goals in injury time.

On Tuesday, Tribhuvan Army Club will take on fellow A division outfit Sankata Club in the fourth and final quarter-final match.